Why the impact? Negative affective change as a mediator of the effects of victim impact statements

Author(s)Wevodau Amy, Robert J. Cramer, Andre Kehn and John W Clark III
Title Why the impact? Negative affective change as a mediator of the effects of victim impact statements
Source Journal of Interpersonal Violence,2014, Vol. 29, No 16, pp. 2884-2903
Date 2014
Document type Journal article
Coverage United States
Summary Recent research has shown that emotion is a necessary component when it comes to moral decision making and social judgement. The article focuses on how victim impact statements (VIS) may have a direct influence when it comes to decision making in sexual assault trials. The study aims to examine the concept of victim impact statements having an affective change on jury decisions in response to the criticisms made for the use of VIS. 235 jury panel members participated in the study. Divided into two groups each group was given an article describing a criminal trial involving a sexual assault case. Only one group was given a victim impact statement in addition to the trial case. The results confirmed previous studies and found that exposure to VIS's increases the jurors' negative affect and punitiveness toward the offender. It was suggested that changes in feelings of upset and nervousness mediate the influence of VIS exposure on sentencing recommendations.
Keywords Victim impact statements; need for affect; negative affect; sentencing; hostility
Topic

Victim impact statements